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RULAAC laments increased arrests, indefinite detention, extortion, other abuses

Calls on Lagos State Police Command to intervene

Press Release — RULAAC calls on Lagos State Police Command to put an end to increasing cases of arrests, indefinite detention over minor offences, extortion and other bail-related human rights abuses

For the umpteenth time under one month, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) expresses concern and calls on the Lagos State Police Command authorities again to end increasing incidents of arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention over minor offences, extortion and other bail-related human rights abuses.

Some officers within the command are hell-bent on continuing with abusive practices that attract resentment rather than empathy for the police. It is disconcerting that the predatory activities that gradually and cumulatively built up to EndSARS are still continuing. No lessons seem to have been learnt.

This again underscores the perplexing failure and/or inability of successive Inspectors-General of Police to enforce compliance with directives they issue. We recall that in March 2020, as part of measures to control the likely infection and spread of Covid-19 among persons detained in police cells, the IGP issued directives to police officers to limit arrests and detention to only major offences. But this directive, like previous ones such as the ban on police checkpoints and the ban on the use of police officers as escorts to all manner of private individuals have all been honoured in the breach than in the observance.

Mr. Kebir Sani was arrested on 23/3/2021 and released on 7/4/2021 – 15 days later.

In the words of his brother, ‘The Nigeria police force Lagos State Command collect the sum of hundred thousand naira(100000)before he was released. Thanks so much I appreciate you sir’.

This is a period of 15 days, and after the intervention of the DCP Admin after RULAAC contacted him on this matter.

Kebir’s brother reported that the IPO was angry with him for reporting his brother’s indefinite detention to the DC and asked him how he got the DC’s number.

RULAAC’s information is that Kabiru Sani, a tanker driver, drove into Lagos from Benin on 23/3/2021 and stopped over somewhere at Ikorodu and was arrested during a raid in the area for some cultists terrorising the area. Mashood, Kabir’s brother said Mr Kabiru Sani has been detained at Command Headquarters, Ikeja

Efforts had been underway to get the Police authorities to release him.

Here is further message from Mashood, Kebir’s brother based in Auchi, Edo State about one week ago:

“Good morning sir

“It’s comrade mashood from auchi

“Sir, nothing has b done about my brother mr kebiru sani who was arrested on 23/3/2021 sir. Today is his 8th day in detention.

“They even ask us to pay twenty thousand naira yesterday for them to write a report to commissioner of police yesterday

“Sir this is getting out of hand am confused I don’t know what to do.”

Mashood further said ‘the DPO at Ikorodu is asking for 20 thousand naira before he can start thinking of working for him to be granted bail’.

‘Now they are not allowing our relatives who come to the station to see him anymore’.

It was based on the information above that RULAAC contacted the DCP Administration for the second time and he asked us to send Kebir’s brother who is in Lagos to him.

After Kebir’s brother met the DCP on April 1, 2021 he sent us the following update:

Good evening Thank you very much sir the dcp later pick my brother call and meet with him

He ask my brother some questions about mr kebiru sani which told him the little one he knows about him.

Before he now send one of his boy and brother to the officers who are on the issue.the i p o was angry after he denied never ask my brother for twenty thousand that he only ask for money for food to feed him.

After the dcp address some issues the i p o was angry with my brother telling him why and how did he know dcp that the matter has now involves many big people on top.

He later tell my brother to start negotiating bail price with him which I told my brother to do not to worry

After some time he said his oga his not around that should b another day….

You have try for me sir please help me to finish of the issue

I am the only one he have who can help him and God plus you sir

Thanks sir I really appreciate everything you are doing for me and my brother. END

This morning, RULAAC received with shock, the following information from Kebir’s brother:

“Good morning sir how is the family

“Mr Kebiru sani was released on 7/4/2021

“The Nigeria police force Lagos State Command collect the sum of hundred thousand naira (100,000) before he was released

“Thanks so much. I appreciate you sir.” [END]

We are shocked that, knowing that the DC was already aware of this case, the IPO still went ahead to extort 100 thousand Naira from them.

After 15 days in detention, we thought they were holding Kebir for any serious offence.

We are worried that this can be happening in Lagos State Police Command.

We acknowledge that crime, especially, cultism, has been on the upsurge in Lagos State. We also welcome the commitment by the command to combat crime and secure residents from the menace of criminals. However, some Police officers in the command are hiding under the pretext of fighting crime to commit crime. Many of them, by their activities, are focused on arresting people in order to extort money. Nothing more.

When people are arrested for any alleged crime, the law requires that they should not be detained indefinitely. The law limits the duration a person arrested for any alleged crime can be held in police custody. Beyond that legal duration, the police are required to grant bail or charge to court.

RULAAC has been receiving many other complaints similar to Kebir’s.

RULAAC Calls on the CP Lagos State to put an end to abuse of power and corruption in the command. We demand an investigation into the allegation of extortion of 100,000 Naira from Kebir’s brother to release him and to ensure that the Police officers responsible are disciplined and made to refund the money they extorted from Kebir’s family members.

Okechukwu Nwanguma
Executive Director

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